Today I went down into central Portland to have a couple meetings. Imagine my surprise when I rounded the corner onto Front and Taylor and found the restaurant I had apprenticed at back in 1989-1991 – UpFront Bar & Grill. Further imagine my surprise when I stepped through the door and found the same General Manager!
I must admit, I had thought that establishment had folded years ago. Two other venerable Portland restaurants are still there – going strong. Paddy’s and the Veritable Quandary. Both of these locations were watering holes for me back then – the Spanish Coffees at Paddy’s and the whiskey at VQ.
Paddy’s has a special significance for me – it is where I stood in for my Dad and gave my sister Cecilia away to (at the time) their best bartender in the back room. The Veritable Quandary was introduced to me by my now best friend for twenty years, Randy Moss – who had found it when he worked for the Marriot just up the street.
Today brought the same feeling I got when I went back to Helena, Montana (where I grew up) after being away for 18 years – and found the mountaineering store still there – the store I bought my first nordic skiis with a $1.50 down payment at age 12. I’m glad that some things never change – even when one of my life’s statements has been:
The only constant in human life is change.
First postulated by Heraclitus (c 535BC to 435BC), then restated by Issac Asimov and numerous others.
Even when the restaurant scene in Portland has exploded in creativity and depth, driving Anthony Bourdain to proclaim several weeks ago that – Portland is the food town in the USA – it’s quite satisfying that some places are excellent enough to thrive and drive well past the Internal Revenue Service’s expected lifespan of three years.
Upcoming posts will include:
my new Creole Chef friend’s cart on SE Hawthorne – and the fresh crayfish he gave me after close last week
Portland State University’s Food Management Program – unique in the nation
Skype-ing with my daughters back in Maine